2009-12-11 / Community

Donovan Richards To Be Honored

Donovan Richards Donovan Richards The Far Rockaway NAACP will honor Donovan Richards on Saturday, December 12 at Carnucapia located at 74-16 Beach Channel Drive, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Richards will receive the "Youth Service Award" for his on - going work with the youth of the Rockaway community.

Although Richards admits that initially he had no interest or thought of politics, in March 2003 after attending the funeral of childhood friend Darnell Patterson, who was fatally gunned down in front of his home, he decided he wouldn't let him die in vain.

This led him to a meeting hosted by Councilman James Sanders Jr. regar - ding gun violence in the community. His testimony and outspokenness led Sanders' then chief-of-staff, Andrea Sanders, to offer him an opportunity in the office. Richards would later take a position in the office in November 2003. Over the years he would serve in the capacity as an intern, scheduler, community liaison, press secretary and event planner. His commitment and work ethic eventually led Sanders to make him his district manager, where he oversaw the quality of life and operations of the 31st District, which encompasses Rosedale, Laurel - ton, Spring field Gardens and Far Rockaway.

Richards had a wealth of knowledge on issues affecting the neighborhoods, since he grew up in just about every neighborhood in the district and was intimately familiar with the Rock - aways.

Richards was appointed in January 2009 as Sanders' acting chief-of-staff. He has worked with Sanders on countless initiatives including Queens' first gun buy-back program which netted nearly 1000 guns. He also served as Sanders' project manager for the May - or's Community Advisory Board, which oversees $100 million in airport capital funds from the Port Authority and JFK lease.

In November 2007, he was selected by Nicole Bell to coordinate the first candlelight vigil along with Rev. Shar - p ton in memory of Sean Bell, who was gunned down in a hail of 50 shots in November 2006.

Although some felt that it would endanger his political aspirations, Richards responded, "If we don't stand up for our young people, who will."

Richards' perceived boldness and commitment to education led the Department of Education's PAC Title I Parents and NAACP to honor him with the Effective Advocacy and Man - agement Award for the parents and children of PS 42Q.

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